I'm not okay and that's okay.
MDW is honored to feature a guest post from Charryse Wright of Just Wright Ministries. Seeking opportunities to plant seeds of love, hope and healing to God’s children while in a hopeless place, Just Wright Ministries provides options and opportunities to assist in your healing process and a desire is to see you delivered, healed, set free and made whole. I hope you enjoy this thoughtful reflection and allow it to plant a seed of hope in your heart.
I am NOT OK, We're NOT OK and that is OK!
Sometimes, I feel like a fraud. I am the go-to for support, motivation and encouragement for many in my life, but I realized I am not practicing what I preach. In our conversations, everyone knows they have a 24-hour period to wallow with me and then the crown is straightened and the work begins to address whatever the issue is.
While this typically works for most situations, this is not working for me right now in this season. A couple of weeks ago, I realized I have lost my oomph and was slipping down a dangerous slope into an area that I was not comfortable with. I was in a rut. I had not been praying, reading my Bible, or practicing my self-care like I normally world.
🤦♀️My language was a little sketchy. 🤦♀️My diet was disgusting. 🤦♀️My patience was thin. 🤦♀️My conversations made me clutch my pearls. 🤦♀️My thoughts were scary.
Ugh - I am not OK!! What am I going to do???
I know I am not alone. 2020 has been a roller coaster of events, emotions, and experiences. COVID-19 and systemic racial injustices have exposed the depths of depravity in our flaws as a society. We put profit before people and accolades before accountability. And it is beyond exhausting.
We have not even begun to really feel the effects of the life altering and generational impacting traumatic responses that this season will bring.
Ugh - We are not OK!!
What are we going to do? When we say I am OK, it could mean I am straddling the fence -not good, but not bad OR it could mean, I am not OK. Generally, I am OK has a hidden message that something is going on that I am not ready to discuss. I think in this season, a lot of us are saying I am OK, while repeatedly being traumatized with things that we are not ready to discuss, in essence we are not OK.
This season feels like a level in the Nintendo Super Mario Brothers game. This level starts off regular and we are maneuvering gathering gold coins that give us life and killing the mushrooms that represent normal life obstacles. But in this season, we are trying to gather the gold coins, kill the mushrooms and in comes the white clouds called Lakitu dropping enemies called Spinies from the sky in an effort to destroy Mario. In this season the clouds are the diseases known as COVID-19 and Racism while the Spinies dropping from the clouds are fear of the unknown, food, housing, job and economic instability, nationwide shutdowns and openings, school closures and re- openings, death, police brutality, and fighting for justice and equity just to name a few. And like some of us do while playing Mario, we focus on defeating and maneuvering the mushrooms and the Spinies, that we forget to grab our life saving gold coins.
And we are not OK!
This Walk is not easy because life does happen, and the enemy is at every turn working to sabotage us. Sometimes, I hear people respond to others trauma like just "TRUST GOD" and that’s not always easy, because too often God’s word contradicts our current life circumstances.
🤷♀️We say God is a provider, but we have no food, no job and are about to be evicted. 🤷♀️We say God is a healer, but we are dying or struggling with long-term effects from COVID-19 and racism. 🤷♀️We say God is a protector, but we are being murdered in the streets by those that should protect us. 🤷♀️We say God is sovereign, but an entire country was created to oppress people that look like me.
And we are NOT OK.
It is a choice to TRUST GOD, one that I sometimes struggle with. I am human. Let’s be honest, the Apostles were in the presence of the Messiah and still doubted when they were tested. They lived and breathed the Messiah in His human form and doubted Him. But we can't doubt? We have to remind ourselves of some of those key events in the Bible as we go through this journey called life.
Sometimes, I get lost, scared, and unsure. In those times, I have to be gracious, gentle and respect myself enough to not beat myself up because of these all too real human feelings. And that can be hard! Especially, when we are expected to be strong and brave all the time. Life has taught me that some of my strongest and bravest moments where when I said to myself & God “I am NOT OK”. Because in those moments my humanity connected perfectly with God’s love.
I want to encourage you and myself today, that it is OK, to NOT be OK - No matter what people, social media or society say. We are in an unfamiliar time, where our normal life continues to happen while we are dealing with the complex traumatic diseases and symptoms that are COVID-19 and racism. So, it may appear that God’s Word does not match our current life circumstances, God’s Word is still true.
❤We have no food, no job and are about to be evicted, but God will provide. ❤We are dying or struggling with long-term effects from COVID- 19 and racism, but God will heal. ❤We are being murdered in the streets by those that should protect us, but God is our protector. ❤An entire country was created to oppress people that look like me, but God remains sovereign.
What this season has reminded and taught me is to:
1. Shift my thoughts and remain focused on God’s Word and not my circumstances.
The brain is a powerful organ and we have to control our thoughts, or our thoughts will control and dictate us. Meditate on God’s word, continuously and if that is not possible, sometimes I just say “Jesus”.
2. Setting aside dedicated and intentional quiet time with God...
...to pray, read, study and meditate on God’s word. I am an early riser, so I am often up at 4 AM.
3. Limit my intake of social media and the news...
...as they are inundated with negative imagery which increases my anxiety and fear.
4. Grieve the loss of my plans.
I had things planned for 2020 and unfortunately most of them did not happen. Some of the losses I was OK with, but others really bothered me, and I had to grieve the loss of my expectations and plans, so that I could be open to receive the new plans.
5. Reinvent and be intentional with my self-care practices.
I have not had a massage, a wax, facial or mani-pedi since March. However, I have been spending more quality time with my son, writing, reading, being still and quiet, developing new and ending dead friendships and connections, at-home spa treatments, developing and accomplishing new goals and having lots of sacred rest.
6. Remember to breathe.
That may sound funny, but we actually hold our breath or do shallow breathing during times of anxiety. My Pilates instructor has been working with me on breathing properly and I must saw it feels weird at first, but it is beneficial.
The concept that I have to hold on to is while I may struggle, I cannot stay in my struggle. My life is meant to be VICTORIOUS and the only way to have the victory is to defeat the obstacle. I cannot win the race if I don’t run. And I cannot run the race if I don’t practice. And as I reflect on watching my son and his teammates run track, sometimes they run fast and sometimes they run slow, but they keep going until they cross the finish line. Some finish faster than others, but most of them finish while unfortunately a few do quit. That is life.
What I know is I am not quitter, so I am getting back in the race and getting my life together. I am intentionally working to get back to me, to the person GOD purposed me to be and not this shell that I have allowed to hang around far too long.
We do not have an end in sight for the diseases COVID-19 and racism, so we have to remember to be intentionally gentle and compassionate with ourselves in this season of I AM NOT OK.
What have you been intentionally doing to survive your season of "I AM NOT OK"?
About the author:
Charryse N. Wright was born and raised in Sanford, Florid attending Historic St. James AME Church during her childhood. Due to the effects of childhood traumatic experiences Charryse, turned away from the church and God for a while. While Charryse was struggling to find her way, God continued to call and use her to minister to God’s people.
During this wilderness season, Charryse joined the US Army and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social work from Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida. As a social worker she worked as a community provider in criminal court and psychiatric hospitals providing support for individuals suffering from mental illness, homelessness and substance abuse issues.
When Charryse answered God’s call to address her trauma, God began using her as a consultant with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Center for Trauma Informed Care (NCTIC), where she shares her testimony of healing, forgiveness and accepting God’s love in lectures and trainings for staff, consumers, and administration in the United States and internationally, on the practice of trauma-informed care and its applications.
Learn more about Charryse and Just Wright Ministries at www.justwrightministries.org